This is a condition we often get asked about in clinic as people may know somebody who has been diagnosed or they may have been recently told they have this condition. It is thought that 1 in every 25 people suffer from Fibromylagia (FM), this is more common in women than men.
It is important to note that Fibromyalgia is described as a syndrome as it is a clinical picture of a collection of symptoms which include:
Despite the prevalence of this condition and it’s disabling nature. To date, there is no definitive physical or psychological cause for fibromyalgia. However; anxiety, depression, emotional distress and poor sleep can exacerbate symptoms. Pain is a common pre dominant symptom of FM, though it is important to note that this pain is not caused by any injury or damage to any tissue, this does not make it any less real or disabling. The discomfort people feel is due to a problem in how the brain and the nervous system process pain in certain regions. This malfunction in the pain processing system means that there is also increased sensitivity and tenderness to pressure, even with minor bumps or knocks.
Blood tests can rule out other conditions presenting similarly e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis, Hypothyroidism, and Vitamin D deficiency, though there are no formal tests or investigations to confirm the diagnosis of FM. Instead, a Doctor or Trained Chartered Physiotherapist will make the diagnosis based on assessment findings. Historically, a Fibromyalgia diagnosis was made by the presence of specific set of tender points throughout the body, however, since 2010, guidelines have dismissed this method. A diagnosis is now considered by the presence of three common signs;
What can be done?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic long term condition with no cure. However there are a number of therapies and medications that can help manage the symptoms including;
(Do not take medication without discussing with your GP or pharmacist to make sure they are suitable for you.)
Here at Great Northern Physiotherapy we offer a variety of treatment options to help with chronic pain and long term conditions including Fibromyalgia. Don’t suffer, get in touch for further information on how we can help.